Friday, December 29, 2006


Saddam Hussein, former President of Iraq, is due to be hanged, even in the next 24 hours. Presumably, the talk shows are rejoicing that an evil man is being taken from this world. Some may be rejoicing that he will go to everlasting damnation in the fires of hell.

I am sad.

I did not like the man, and was glad to see him removed from power. But Saddam is made in the image of God Almighty, and to see someone reject God and reap eternal punishment is sad.

Jesus died for that man, sacrificed himself that he could be recconciled to God. Jesus died for Saddam Hussein. The he would reject that gift is a sad day, for God is willing that none should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Glow in the Dark Pigs

No joke.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


I have now been compared to two celebrities that I can recall. Fred Savage, from his stint on The Wonder Years, and John Mayer. The latter, at least, according to my aunt (if I had no beard - though I was told repeatedly it looks handsome).

Monday, December 25, 2006


Some things I am thankful for, in a season when it is all too easy for me to not have that attitude:

1) The guy that put lemon juice in a squeeze-bottle. I am rediscovering how refreshing a little (well, a tablespoon or so) of lemon juice is in a glass of ice water. Is that a lot? I'm trying to wean soda, including the diet and artificially sweetened kind, from my diet. Not completely or ever, just more often than I used to. A slice of lemon is nice, but lacks staying power, and a whole lemon in a glass is a lot of effort, with seeds, and is not very cost effective. The bottled juice is wonderful.

2) The old friends who sent me Christmas cards this year. I've been feeling pretty Grinchy the past few weeks, and remembering that life does not end when one is 28, unmarried, and (in my case, a given) childless. With the swarm of babies being born to friends and family right now, +/- 5-6 weeks, that has been occasionally hard to remember. Just being remembered in a season that has come to epitomize both the swarm of rejections that have happened at this time of year and the celebration of those close to me who have exactly what I miss, helps me realize that I am who I am - not who I am not - and that defining one's life by negatives sucks.

3) The Lange kids. Feeling like a non-blood-uncle to some young kids helps when I have none of my own to play with. Holding one when praying that someone will see get the candles we gave out and be reminded of the God Who Became Man reminds me what a step that was. Though Jesus was not a blue-eyed, blond-haired girl, I wonder how often he wanted to talk when the adults were trying to be quiet, how often he wanted to just go tearing around the room, (perhaps chasing his cousin John), how Mary and Joseph must have taught him to eat, to drink, to be a creature of flesh and blood. For the record, I think hearing kids being kids when the adults try to be quiet and reverent has always enhanced my appreciation for Christmas - because Jesus was just one of those kids, too. When we make it all "Silent Night," we lose something. The Jesus crying for Mary's milk is the Jesus of the cross. The "Little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes" is the Jesus of the crucifix.

Sunday, December 24, 2006


My roommate asked the other day if I'd be interested in going to the mall with him Christmas Eve just to watch the buzz of activity before Christmas. "Alas, I already have plans. My church is going around houses in the neighborhood dropping off candles with an offer to come by and recycle their Christmas Trees for them."

He was impressed. "Not only is it useful, but it's environmentally-friendly" he said. I explained to him that we try to be aware of such things, like the fact that we use an e-mail newsletter in lieu of a paper bulletin, both to save the expense of printing them, and because it doesn't waste paper.

"You know, I like your new church a lot more than your old church." Maybe it's because when I talk about it, I'm more likely to be talking about the Truckee river cleanup, or bagging food for Evelyn Mount, or recycling Christmas trees than I am to be talking about our guest speaker, or the fine Christmas program we are doing, or our other efforts to get people to the church building.

These are the things I am comfortable talking about with people on the street. I'm not selling the church - he works Sunday nights anyway. But I'm proud to share what we are involved in.
I take this as a confirmation that deep down, these are the things I knew a church should be known for.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

I just spent 4 hours on it?!

I decided to get a Pro Flickr account, so that my many wonderful pictures can all be seen, instead of the last 200. They have a fine service, and since I was last on, they added a new feature. Geo-coding. You show, with as much specificity as you like, where your pictures were taken. This is a searchable feature, or you can keep it private.

I had hours of fun squinting at maps, trying to figure out just where some pictures were taken. But the really cool part about it is looking at an area - say, Truckee - and seeing interesting pictures that were taken there, or recent pictures taken there. Or you can zoom in on Dublin, or New York, or just about anywhere you fancy.

So of course, while uploading several hundred new pictures, I had to go through and do just that. I have "Lots" of pictures in San Francisco, and Washington DC, but also in Raleigh, and the Black Rock Desert. I even did my best to pinpoint the Martis Fire Outlook.

And I could waste all day here. 4 hours. Suddenly, it was dark.

Merry Christmas to me!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

So this manatee walks into the Internet...

It started as an unscripted quip on the Conan O'Brien show. He was doing a bit about "unknown college mascots" and one was the "Webcam Manatee." The Webcam Manatee is nothing more than a Manatee dancing around rubbing its chest suggestively, with a person watching this on a computer.

Conan quipped that the man was watching "HornyManatee.Com." Thus the fad began. The URL was given, but at the time the show was taped, it did not exist. NBC bought it, and put up a small farce site. This small farce received over a million hits in its first week. Fans began submitting their own art. Songs, poems, drawings, CGI poured forth.

It expanded beyond that. A random look at YouTube revealed a guy who wrote and sung a song. I listed it below. If you are easily offended, don't listen. The words "genitals" "naked" and "Christina Aguilera" all occur.

Harry Potter and the...

I like reading Harry Potter. I will ever remember reading book 6 in two sittings. Two, because I got a copy at 12:30 at Wal-Mart, read until 3am, went to sleep, got up, went to the DMV to register my new car, finished the book, and heard my name called about 10 minutes later.

I shed a couple solitary tears in the DMV that day, as the ending was both tragic and beautiful.

The title for the final book has been announced. All that's left is the months and months until the book is released.

The new title? Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows.

If I knew a local store that carried it

I would SO get this game for Dawson for Christmas.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Who We Are

The Evangelical Free Churchs of America is revising its statement of faith. There are two significant chances. One deals with eschatology - the study of the end of this world. The other brings a new emphasis at the core for serving the poor.

I'm in favor of both. The eschatological issue is one that, while I support the existing position, I do not see as a crux on which our faith must rest, and I know good, Godly men who disagree with it.

Service for the poor is so central to the identity of the Christian that it should have been in there ages ago.

Since Coram Deo is a member of this denomination, the changes affect us.

EFCA Website, for reference.


I'm not the sort that walks around the office talking about what we did at church, who our guest speaker was, or other things of that sort. In fact, I've only mentioned the chuch a very small handful of times, but each time was in relation to serving in the community. I mentioned the Truckee River cleanup we helped with. I mentioned how stiff I was from bagging food for Evelyn Mount with the church, and I asked a fellow employee who has a son just back from Iraq what some good ideas would be for things to send to a soldier our church is planning to sponsor.

Church and service should go hand-in-hand in our minds, just as Jesus came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


The zipper on one pair of my jeans has acrophobia. This has made for some socially awkward moments. But they're comfortable, and I only have so many pairs that fit comfortably.

I had a flash of inspiration the other day. A mutual love of electronics shared by my rommmate and I has left a plethora of twist-ties around the house. I ran one through the hole in the zipper, and over the button to fasten the jeans. It is invisible from the outside, and I don't walk around checking myself every 3 minutes.

If you suffer a similar problem, you now have a solution. Huzzah!


I'm now a Beta Blogger. I intend to start adding categories to my blogs, which is supposed to "Help your readers find related material faster." I may even go back and archive some old posts with labels... but I have a lot of old posts.


"When I pray, especially after brushing the skirts of power, I must remember that God's kingdom is not an adjunct to U.S. politics, not a mere voting bloc; nor is it an international fellowship, a genteel and moral version of the United Nations useful for such tasks as feeding orphans and drilling wells. God's rule encompasses all human institutions and all history."

-Philip Yancey, Prayer: What Difference Does It Make?

Friday, December 15, 2006

A (short) Tale of Two Kennys

I'm often tickled that I know exactly two people named Kenny well - a cousin, and a college buddy. Both are lawyers. And they're the only two lawyers I know among my peers.

This occured to me once again as I was carrying completed forms down the hall tis afternoon. I don't know why.


Stories inspire us in part because we can see ourselves in the role of the protagonist. I see this story somewhat differently: I see our church in this role - gladly doing what needs to be done to serve others.

Here's the story.

Here's an excerpt:
Paeglow treats his patients, prays with his patients, and gives them medicine if he has it. If he doesn't, he'll pay for it, if need be.

As a result, the Paeglows have very little that is their own. They live rent-free in a church rectory. Their car was donated, and their savings account is nonexistent.

"It was worth it. Worth it that I was able to fulfill a dream. Take care of people who no one else really cares much about," he said. "I consider myself a very rich person. I don't have any money, but I am rich."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Turn Your Eyes to the Skies

There's an off chance that you can catch the Northern Lights tonight - even as far south as the Equator. Such things can't be predicted perfectly, but we're currently being bombarded by a solar storm.

It's at least looking outside for, on the chance you can catch it.

The Story

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Bitter Taste

I was, really, feeling upbeat about changes in Washington. "New Leadership," thought I "will have an incentive to do thigns different." I should have expected that the new leadership was just as tainted as the old.

The good news in the story that has me so upset is that Republicans and Democrats were working together. The bad news is that they were doing so (1) for money, (2) in cooperation with monopoly business (3) to use the coercive legislative power of Congress (4) at the expense of an independent businessman (5) who was playing by established rules (6) to earn a good living (7) while providing lower prices (~20 cents per gallon of milk) to US customers.

Our own Senator Harry Reid was playing political games to actively punish a guy whose "crime" was selling milk cheaper than the Dairy Industry. The Washington Post has the story.

Monday, December 11, 2006

I might could be persuaded

It is not inconcievable that I could be persuaded to cast a presidential ballot for Barack Obama, depending on the matchups involved. He's a liberal, no arguing against that. But he seems like a rather respectable bloke from that side of the aisle.

He's in favor of abortion rights, which is a significant negative for me, and he takes a very government-intensive view to social reform, which I also take issue with. But he seems like a reasonable guy and, dare I say it, a good statesman. And there are good things to be said with having a reasonable man you disagree with in office, instead of an unreasonable one you agree with.

This article from TIME is his own tale of faith, and it is a color of faith that I don't quite recognize. It is different, and I am unsure what to say when he admmits he doesn't know what happens when he dies. Then again, there are times I am unsure - I have never done it, and rely by faith alone on the words of one who did.


I woke up this morning, and felt the day before in every muscle involved with moving my arms. It's amazing what the cumulative effect of lifting and stacking 171 bags of groceries will do to the body that isn't used to it. But to spend some time helping Evelyn Mount's Community Outreach was worth it.

Ms. Mount has been distributing food to the needy out of her garage since 1978. I helped for two hours, along with 10 other people from my church. Pull the food from the shelves, put it in the bags, according to the list posted on the wall. A simple process. Our first round we did 99 bags, our second round added 72 more (but went much faster per bag, as we knew what we were doing).

Once again I was thinking of excuses not to go, once again after going I can't imagine doing anything else. Not only were we helping, but we had fun doing it. Food flying through the air, shouts of "Two Beans!" or "Three Soups" as various bag-stuffers called ou what they needed to their shelf-pullers. The two kids that came along doing their best to help as well (even Noah, just 4 years old, passed along cans and took out garbage).

What did we accomplish? We invested time and energy to help Mrs. Mount with her outreach. We helped, in doing so, to feed the hungry. We got to know others in the church a little better. We showed the young'ns what it means to serve, and did so gladly.

And can I say that for a church which has been averaging around 30 people the past couple weeks, a turnout of 11 people for a service project is pretty good. We want everyone to be serving - not only at our "sponsored" service projects, but on their own, in the ways that they are gifted. That a third of the church could be in one place at one time helping was a blessing.

Friday, December 08, 2006

All I Want for Christmas

Alternate Title: They Remember!

My friends have a habit of exchanging gifts at Christmas, something I have traditionally done only with my family. I was discussing it with my roommate, and he has passed the word on to all of them that what I want more than anything is for them to use money in a charitable donation, instead of getting me more stuff.

I haven't even mentioned it since last year, but I heard rumors of a coordinated push to combine their resources in one donation (trying to do more in one donation than each doing it individually). My a-religious friends get a practical demonstration of love, as they give to a charity other than the Expand-Dave's-DVD-Collection Foundation. That's just super.

While I don't like the "Instead of giving you a gift, I'll make a charitable donation in your name" idea, because I still get stuff AND get to take the "high road" while you get nothing; instead I proactively say "Don't give to me. I don't want stuff. Instead of spending on a gift for me, feed a hungry child, buy an animal for a poor family, give to charity. This means I don't get stuff, while I do still give stuff. I admit, there is a part of me that wants to accumulate more things - the part that loves likes toys, gadgets, and the like. But it is not the part of me I want to feed and make stronger.

Need ideas? I've got a list at the left. Need more ideas? Our church plant could use money. Need even more ideas? Use the Charity Navigator.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Today is the 65th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. A reminder of the hostility and unquenchable thirst for power all over the world. And perhaps a good moment to take a step back and pray for our enemies, to consider how to love those that hate us.

There has been some news of late about the Rios family - a grandmother, mother, and step-fater who were recently sentenced for locking two children, 11 and 16, in a bathroom for most of 5 years, not allowing them outside, forcing them to sleep naked, beating them, taunting them with food, and starving them to the point where the girl would eat her brother's toenail clippings and wood shavings from around the bathtub to sate her hunger.

There is great evil in the world, and my inclination is hatred toward those responsible. But might there be a way to show them love instead? They have done great wrong, but we stood as guilty before God and were forgiven and loved instead - how can we do less?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

It may come as no surprise

I value the simple things. Sitting around a fire with the guys around Pyramid Lake one night, Daran took this picture. Ostensibly, we were up there to get a good view of Mars making its closest approach to Earth in several thousand years. Realistically, we were just hanging out, without distractions, without agendas, swapping stories and seriously overloading a poor hibachi grill with sagebrush and scavenged wood.

Carefree, able to load up a couple cars and just go. We grabbed meat to grill on the way, and arrived well after dark. We stayed until the wee hours of the morning. And it was one of our best Friday Nights ever.